JAMES L. ROBERTS, LT, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall
James Roberts '64

Date of birth: May 22, 1942

Date of death: April 27, 1968

Age: 25

Lucky Bag

From the 1964 Lucky Bag:

1964 Roberts LB.jpg

JAMES LOWELL ROBERTS

Cowles, Nebraska

Jim

17th Company

Jim came to the Academy from Cowles, Nebraska. After spending a year at the University of Nebraska as an NROTC student, he decided to go all out "Navy Blue" and so spent his next four years at Annapolis. Academically, Jim remained near the top of the class and was referred to as "Univac" by his classmates. Jim also found the time to participate in Brigade Boxing, 150 pound football and numerous company sports. His activities included the Naval Academy Christian Association and the Foreign Relations Club. For the immediate future, Jim expects to be flying high with his Navy wings. His ultimate goal is set on the space program, but no matter what field he enters, the Navy will not gain a harder working Naval officer.

1964 Roberts LB.jpg

JAMES LOWELL ROBERTS

Cowles, Nebraska

Jim

17th Company

Jim came to the Academy from Cowles, Nebraska. After spending a year at the University of Nebraska as an NROTC student, he decided to go all out "Navy Blue" and so spent his next four years at Annapolis. Academically, Jim remained near the top of the class and was referred to as "Univac" by his classmates. Jim also found the time to participate in Brigade Boxing, 150 pound football and numerous company sports. His activities included the Naval Academy Christian Association and the Foreign Relations Club. For the immediate future, Jim expects to be flying high with his Navy wings. His ultimate goal is set on the space program, but no matter what field he enters, the Navy will not gain a harder working Naval officer.

1964 Roberts LB 2.jpg

Loss

From the July 1968 issue of Shipmate:

Lt. James L. Roberts, USN, who had been serving as a jet pilot with Fighter Squadron 142, died 27 April in a launching accident from USS CONSTELLATION off the coast of Southern California. The accident occurred during a routine flight and he was unable to eject from the plane due to a mechanical failure. Memorial services were held in the Methodist Church at Red Cloud, Neb., his hometown, on 9 May.

Lt. Roberts, who was a native of Nebraska, attended the University of Nebraska for a year prior to entering the Naval Academy, from where he was graduated in 1964. An honor student, he stood 22nd in a class of over 900. As a midshipman he was Commander of the 17th Company, member of the Fourth Battalion Staff, served on the Brigade honor committee and was a summer exchange officer with the Academy's counterpart in Denmark. Upon graduation he received the Brainerd Award as the man who contributed most to the honor concept of the Academy. In 1963 he was the Nebraska candidate as Rhodes Scholar but lost in close competition.

Following graduation, Lt. Roberts remained at the Academy in the Executive Department, then received basic flight training at Pensacola. He was designated a naval aviator at Corpus Christi, Tex., in June 1966, then received advanced training. He was attached to Fighter Squadron 121, then with VF-142. He had served in Vietnam and had flown over 100 combat missions before returning to the States last December, stationed at San Diego. He had been awarded nine Air Medals, three Navy Commendation Medals, two Navy Achievement Medals and a Navy Unit Commendation as well as the Republic of Vietnam Campaign and Service Medals. He was a member of the Naval Academy Alumni Association and secretary of the class of 1964.

Surviving are his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ross M. Roberts of Red Cloud, Nb. 68970; a brother Gerald of Valparaiso, Ind.; two sisters, Mrs. Suzanne Beerthuis of Gettysburg, Pa., and Marita of the home; his grandmothers, Mrs. Odessa Roberts of Sioux City, Ia., and Mrs. Susan Kindig of Red Cloud.

The deck log of USS Constellation (CVA 64) gives the time of the crash as 0925, and the location as 32° 13.5'N 118° 50'W. (His radar intercept officer, LT William Mayhew, was recovered by helicopter. In August 1968 William was shot down over North Korea and was held as a prisoner of war until March 1973.)

James has a memory marker next to his parents' burial site in Red Cloud, NE.

Related Articles

John Sweet '64 and Gerald Siebe '64 were also in 17th Company.


Class of 1964

James is one of 25 members of the Class of 1964 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of alumni in Memorial Hall.